Love YouTube-style cooking shows? Then, cook up a skillet of Kenji’s Amazing Garlic Noodles in just 15 minutes to find out exactly why they’ve become deliciously famous!
If you’ve never taken the leap to do more than watch YouTube-style cooking shows, then now is the time! This creamy, buttery pasta is packed with loads of mouthwatering flavor that’s a delicious reward for leaping!
Kenji Lopez-Alt brings big flavors to the table in a simple, approachable way for any home cook! But sometimes we need more assistance, and that’s ok too!
In this recipe, I walk through the steps with you in just 15 minutes to prove you are capable of anything you want to cook up in your kitchen!
The result is a mouthwatering side dish or main meal that you’ll want to make on repeat!
Why you’ll love these Easy Garlic Noodles
Taste: This simple pasta dish is filled with a savory flavor that’s just the right amount of saltiness and garlic! The good news is the ingredients in it can also be fairly interchangeable.
Texture: Perfectly cooked al dente pasta is drenched in a creamy sauce loaded with scallions. All scooped up together to make the tastiest parmesan garlic noodles!
Garlic Noodle Ingredients
- Unsalted Butter
- Garlic Paste
- Oyster Sauce
- Light Soy Sauce or Shoyu
- Fish Sauce
- Finely Grated Parmesan
How to make Kenji Garlic Noodles
Step 1: Using a wok or deep skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the garlic paste and cook until fragrant.
Step 2: Stir in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce until combined. Then, remove the pan from the heat.
Bring water to a boil in a deep skillet over high heat and season it with salt. Stir in the pasta, reduce the heat, and cook until it’s just shy of al dente while stirring frequently.
Step 4: Transfer the cooked pasta to the garlic sauce, allowing any water clinging to it to go with it. Reserve the leftover pasta water in the skillet.
Increase to high heat. Add the cheese to the pasta along with some of the reserved pasta water. Stir and toss with a wooden spoon until the sauce is creamy and emulsified.
Step 6: Stir in the scallions and additional parmesan cheese. Top with additional scallions, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Garlic Noodle Recipe Substitutions
A lot of the mouthwatering flavor for this butter garlic noodles recipe is found in 3 ingredients. The soy sauce, fish sauce, and oyster sauce.
Though, not all of them are necessary, making the flexibility of this recipe is one of the best things about it! The sauces can easily be swapped around and traded out, using just a subset of them!
Some things that can be used in place of them are Maggi seasoning, yeast extract, or even Worcestershire sauce. The goal is to just use ingredients that are umami-rich sauces to give delicious savory flavor to this dish!
Garlic Noodle Recipe Tips
- When boiling the pasta, use just enough to cover the spaghetti. The smaller amount of water allows the starches in the water to remain condensed yielding starchy pasta. In turn, building a deliciously creamy sauce!
- Be sure to cook the pasta until it’s just shy of al dente. This way you don’t end up with overcooked, soggy pasta after it finishes cooking in the skillet with the creamy sauce.
- If you’d like, you can swap the garlic paste out for 20 fresh garlic cloves. However, the cloves will then need to be finely chopped up and crushed using mortar and pestle.
- Save the leftover starchy water until the dish is finished. That way if the pasta and sauce appear greasy you can add a little more starchy water to let it re-emulsify.
- Before serving and enjoying I recommend topping it with scallions and additional parmesan cheese. Then season with salt and pepper to taste!
As with any pasta dish, this is filling! Which is perfect when you’re enjoying it as the main meal!
How to store leftover Garlic Butter Noodles
I find that Kenji garlic noodles are best enjoyed the same day since once they’re reheated, they tend to be a bit dry. However, you can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Enjoy them for up to a day or two!
What to serve with Kenji Garlic Noodles
In San Francisco, they’re typically served with roast crab but really these can be eaten on their own, as is! Though if you’re looking for more variety in your meal you can pair these garlic noodles with chicken.
Or even turn it into garlic noodles with shrimp recipe by adding in some sauteed or grilled shrimp.
Garlic Noodles Recipe variations
Are There Other Types Of Noodles That Can Be Used In This Vietnamese Garlic Noodles Recipe?
Though I just grabbed a box of spaghetti at the store there are other options! Chinese hand-pulled noodles or fresh egg noodles could also be used in this dish.
What Other Types Of Cheeses Can I Use?
Instead of finely grated parmesan, you could grate Pecarina Romano cheese to use. Really any type of hard grating cheese will work in this recipe!
Can I Make These Garlic Noodles Without Oyster Sauce?
Yes, you can! Just replace it with a bit more fish or soy sauce. Or add another umami-rich sauce in its place.
Easy Garlic Noodles FAQs
A large pot can be used instead of a wok or deep skillet to cook the pasta. Use just enough water to cover the spaghetti!
👋 Let’s Connect!
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Garlic Noodle Recipe
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 ounces garlic paste
- 4 teaspoons oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or shoyu
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- salt to season water
- 1 pound spaghetti
- ⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan
- 2 scallions
- Melt the butter in a wok or deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic paste and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant.2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 4 ounces garlic paste
- Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, and fish sauce, and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.4 teaspoons oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons light soy sauce or shoyu, 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- Meanwhile, bring 1½ inches (about 4 to 5 cups) of water to a boil in a deep 12-inch skillet over high heat and season with salt. Add the pasta and stir so it doesn't clump. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until just shy of al dente. The pasta will just fit lengthwise in the pan until it begins to soften and then you can stir it around. It's important to reduce the heat so the water doesn't evaporate too quickly and cause the pasta to burn.1 pound spaghetti, salt
- Using tongs, transfer the cooked pasta to the garlic sauce, along with whatever water clings to it. Reserve the pasta water in the skillet. Increase the heat to high, add the cheese to the pasta along with ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water, stir with a wooden spoon, and toss vigorously until the sauce is creamy and emulsified – about 30 seconds. If the sauce looks too watery, let it keep reducing. If it looks greasy, add a little more starchy water to it and let it re-emulsify.⅓ cup finely grated Parmesan, 2 scallions
- Stir in and top with the scallions and additional parmesan cheese, and serve immediately. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
- You can use a large pot to cook the pasta in if needed, just boil just enough water to cover the spaghetti. Using a smaller amount of water allows the starches in the water to remain condensed yielding amazingly starchy pasta water that will help build your sauce.
- We sometimes add in an extra tablespoon or two of butter at the end when the pasta and sauce are combined to help it emulsify.
- 20 fresh garlic cloves can be used in place of the paste, mind finely and crush with mortar and pestle.
- Make sure to use freshly grated Parmesan, the pre-grated bagged cheese has a coating on it that prevents it from properly melting. Shaker parmesan cheese should not be used.
- The original recipe calls for just 1/4 cup of Parmesan but my family prefers it with a little more.
- I find that the salt from the sauce is enough but we do like finishing with a bit of cracked black pepper and sometimes red pepper flakes.
Adapted from J. Kenji Lopez-Alt